Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program
Groundwater resources have long played a significant role in the development, growth and sustainability of the Sonoma Valley, with more than half the water demand in a given year met by local groundwater resources. With increasing local demands, assuring sustainable groundwater supplies in the Sonoma Valley may be difficult unless appropriate actions are taken in the near future.
In response, a collaborative group of twenty stakeholders, representing varied groundwater interests, has developed a groundwater management plan for the Sonoma Valley. The group, called the Basin Advisory Panel, has representatives from local agriculture, dairies, government, local water purveyors, business, and environmental interests and started meeting in August 2006. The Panel developed and recommended the non-regulatory Groundwater Management Plan (Plan) for adoption. The Sonoma County Water Agency, City of Sonoma, Valley of the Moon Water District, and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District adopted the plan in late 2007. Additionally, letters of support and endorsement for the Plan were received from the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, the Sonoma Ecology Center, the Mission Highlands Mutual Water Company, and the Sonoma County Water Coalition.
This Plan identifies a range of voluntary water management actions to sustain resources for future generations, including enhancing groundwater recharge and increasing water conservation and recycled water use. The Plan area, referred to as the Sonoma Valley, is the Sonoma Creek Watershed. The Sonoma Valley is approximately 166 square-miles in size, and is bounded by Sonoma Mountain to the west, the Mayacamas Mountains and Mount Hood to the east and north, and San Pablo Bay to the south. Communities included in the Plan area include the City of Sonoma and communities of El Verano, Boyes Hot Springs, Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and the southernmost portions of Oakmont.
The Plan goal is to locally manage, protect, and enhance groundwater resources for all beneficial uses, in a sustainable, environmentally sound, economical, and equitable manner for generations to come.
What's New in 2016
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
In September 2014, Governor Brown signed legislation requiring that California’s critical groundwater resources be sustainably managed by local agencies. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) gives local agencies (cities, counties and water districts) powers to sustainably manage groundwater over the long-term, and requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) be formed and Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) be developed for medium- and high-priority groundwater basins. The Sonoma Valley groundwater sub-basin (as defined in DWR’s Bulletin 118 and shown on Figure 1-1) is identified as a medium priority basin and is, therefore, subject to the requirements of SGMA.
The first step in implementing the new law is to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Sonoma Valley groundwater basin. In the meantime, the existing Lead Agency, Basin Advisory Panel and TAC will continue to function under the GMP. The existing stakeholder participation framework forms a strong basis for the collaborative processes encouraged under SGMA, including the use of advisory groups and considering the interests of the beneficial uses and users of groundwater.
The second step required under SGMA will be to develop a new groundwater sustainability plan, which must be completed by 2022. The existing GMP forms a strong foundation upon which to build in the development of the new GSP.
For further information on the new groundwater law and SGMA activities in Sonoma County, visit SonomaCountyGroundwater.org.
Important Info & Documents
- 2015 Annual Report
- Five Year Review and Update Report, March 2014
- Water Efficiency Program - Rebates on high-efficiency toilets and clotheswashers and a High-Efficiency Fixture Direct Install Program for high-efficiency toilets and more
- View information on the Sonoma Valley Stormwater Management/Groundwater Recharge Scoping Study
- Five Year Review and Update Report, March 2014
- Five Year Review and Presentation on March 31, 2014
- Presentation by the Sonoma County Permit & Resource Management Department, April 17, 2014
- Presentation: Sonoma Valley Water Supply Conditions & Water Management Programs to the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, January 22, 2014
- Presentation: Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program to North Bay Agricultural Alliance, January 22, 2014
- Presentation: Five-Year Update and Review to Basin Advisory Panel, December 12, 2013
- Presentation: Sonoma Valley Water Supply Reliability to the Sonoma City Council, June 2013
- Presentation: Sonoma Valley Salt and Nutrient Management Plan, April 2013
- Presentation: AB3030 Monitoring Well Project
Sonoma County Water Agency